board games for kids: race to the treasure

Race to the Treasure

Age: 5 and up

Players: 2 to 4

If your kids get too stressed out by competition, cooperative board games made by Peaceable Kingdom are a smart solution. In Race to the Treasure, all the players work together to reach the treasure before the Ogre can steal it. The team might lose to the Ogre, but at least you’re all in it together, so there won’t be any sore losers.

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board games for kids: twister

Twister

Age: 6 and up

Players: 2 or more

While board games are great exercise for kids’ brains, they often involve sitting still so long your feet go to sleep. Throw Twister into the mix and everyone will get the blood flowing again, plus a lot of laughs. You can even play outside! After spreading out the polka-dotted mat on the floor, spin the wheel and learn your fate: will it be right hand on pink, or left foot on green? Young and bendy, kids actually have the advantage here.

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board games for kids: pie face

Pie Face

Age: 5 and up

Players: 2 or more

A home version of the classic carnival game, Pie Face is simple and hilarious. You put your face inside a cardboard cutout facing a pie thrower, which you can fill with whipped cream or simply a wet sponge to avoid the mess. (Obviously, whipped cream is funnier.) A spinner decides how many clicks you must turn the handle, with each click getting you closer to catching a pie in the face. And if my description didn’t sell you, check out this hysterical Pie Face viral video. Whipped cream not included.

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board games for kids: ticket to ride

Ticket to Ride: First Journey

Age: 6 and up

Players: 2 to 4

All aboard for this train-themed game that lets kids build railroads and pick up tickets to cities across America (bonus geography lesson!). Game play relies on both luck and strategy, making it kid-appropriate while still fun for the whole family. Pricier than other games, this is a great one to put on the Christmas list when Grandma asks.

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board games for kids: apples to apples junior

Apples to Apples Junior

Age: 9 and up

Players: 4 to 10

Known as the game of “crazy combinations,” Apples to Apples is lively fun for a big group. Players take turns being the judge and dealer, in each round revealing a green card with a descriptive word such as “messy” or “slim.” Players quickly decide which of their red cards (representing a person, place, thing or event) is the best match for the word. The judge reads all of the answers aloud, giving players a chance to advocate for their choices (Big Foot could be glamorous, really!) before ruling on whose red card was the best match.

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board games for kids: guess who

Guess Who?

Age: 6 and up

Players: 2

If you like Clue, you will love Guess Who?, in which players attempt to identify the secret mystery person their opponent has pulled from a deck of cards. Each player references an identical game board with 24 faces. Yes-or-no questions such as “Is it a woman?” or “Does he have a beard?” help you rule out suspects until you can solve the mystery by process of elimination. Guess Who? comes in various Disney branded editions, but we’re on a first name basis with the colorful characters from the original family board game like bald Herman, spectacled Claire, and hat-wearing Bernard.

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